OttoLearn® FAQ

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Learning theory

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is adaptive learning?

Adaptive learning is the opposite of one-size-fits-all. Instead of every learner receiving the same learning experience, adaptive learning provides a tailored experience for each learner. Otto will automatically adapt both the frequency and nature of activities in order to assist each learner in reaching their mastery goal.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is microlearning?

Microlearning is a general term, which describes breaking up content into small pieces of knowledge. Otto’s use of the term goes further, to describe accelerating engagement and learning by delivering those small bits of content directly to the learner on an automated basis.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is adaptive microlearning?

Adaptive microlearning combines the learning theory of adaptive learning with the delivery mechanism of microlearning, in order to have a highly effective training system.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningOttoLearn seems to be focused on having the learner complete Activities. Why is that different from other assessment tools?

Otto isn’t a quizzing platform. We’re a rapid training platform. Our adaptive algorithms are designed to have the learner master the content in as little time and with as little effort as possible. There is no general purpose learning tool like it.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningDoes a learner retain their mastery forever?

Otto applies “forgetting pressure” to decrement a learner’s mastery over time. The rate of forgetting is based on the learner’s mastery. Otto will automatically provide the learner with personalized Activities to prevent mastery loss, and regain “lost” mastery. In this way, Otto can ensure long term knowledge retention.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat learning theories are used in Otto?

Otto’s proprietary algorithms are based on the best attributes of adaptive microlearning. We implement many of the learning theories behind established education and training concepts such as:

  • Adaptive / personalized learning
  • Applied forgetting
  • Repeated retrieval / testing effect
  • Gamification with intrinsic / extrinsic motivation
  • Interleaved learning effect
  • Formative assessment
  • Scaffolded learning
  • Spaced repetition for deep knowledge retention
  • Deep encoding through multiple learning vectors
Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is Scaffolded Learning?

Scaffolding is the process by which you can design the delivery of personalized training experiences to go from basic to advanced.

Mastery Pre-requisite

A learner must achieve mastery in a Module, Topic or Concept, prior to moving to the next one.

Sequential Exploration

A learner must have at least practiced one Concept first, prior to being exposed to the next one.

Layered Importance

When building content, you can rank the importance of each Concept, to ensure that the learner is focusing on the most important Concepts first.

Scheduled Mastery Depth

While sometimes, such as in compliance training, you want your learners to have a consistent knowledge level all year, sometimes you may want your learners to have increased knowledge for parts of the year. Otto’s Scheduled Mastery Depth allows you to schedule your learner’s required depth of knowledge over time.

Learner experience (LX)

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is an overview of how learners use Otto?

A learner will typically access Otto on their mobile device. They’ll be prompted to participate in short personalized learning sessions called Training Sessions. Training Sessions will consist of a series of Activities which Otto has determined are the most valuable to raise that learner’s level of knowledge to the pre-defined Mastery Goal level.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat devices can be used by Otto?

Any phone, tablet or computer running a modern browser. Along with extensive web browser support, we have iOS and Android applications available for download in their respective stores. Our focus will be to have strong support for older or low powered devices, as well as low bandwidth or high latency connections.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan Otto be used on a desktop/laptop?

Yes, Otto, our mobile microlearning platform, can be used on pretty much any device that has a modern web browser, including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is a Training Session?

A Training Session is a brief personalized learning session, where a learner is presented with a series of Activities, which Otto determines are the most important Activities to increase that learner’s mastery.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan we determine how often learners get prompted to take a Training Session?

Prompts are governed by an “engagement profile”, which allows you to determine how often and on which days learners should be prompted. You have both an account-wide default engagement profile, and you can also set overrides at the group or user level.

Currently engagement profiles can only be set for the number of prompts per day. In the future, there will be options to instead target for mastery by a certain date, or allow the learner to set their own prompting schedule.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat’s the difference between a Training Session and a Training Moment?

A Training Session is prompted by the Otto application, whereas a Training Moment is initiated by the learner. The learner can even do Training Moments for items which have unmet prerequisites — this is a great way for them to “learn ahead”.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan we prevent learners from performing Training Moments?

No. Our philosophy is that learners should never be prevented from exploring content and learning ahead.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat type of notifications are available?

Currently, we only support SMS notification messages. However, our production version will support email, SMS, app-based push notifications and browser notifications.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan we prevent users from shutting off notifications?

Learners are not currently able to shut off notifications.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningIs there a way for us to require learners to “acknowledge” as well as agree to comply with the material they’ve learned?

Yes, you can create an Activity which prompts the learner for acknowledgement. However, since you have detailed analytics of the learner engaging through all the knowledge of all the Activities, you may not require this type of secondary acknowledgement.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan we get a report that shows they’ve acknowledged?

Yes, you can prevent the learner from achieving mastery until they’ve acknowledged, however, we don’t recommend this type of acknowledgement process, since a best practice is that you will be continuously updating your content, and learners will receive updated content automatically on a daily basis.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat prevents a learner from clicking continue without digesting the feedback?

Nothing — but that’s a good thing!

As long as you’ve designed multiple Activities that will exercise the knowledge of a Concept from multiple vectors, then the feedback should be largely irrelevant.

Our analysis shows that learners usually skip past the feedback when they are proficient, but spend time reading it when they are not, so the learners behave in a natural way.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningMost of my learners routinely wait until the last moment before they do their training. Will Otto help with this?

Definitely! We find that with Otto, your learners will engage with your material on a daily basis, and actually perform Training Moments to learn faster!

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan “instructional” content be delivered in advance of the Activities?

Otto’s philosophy is to get the learner practicing as quickly as possible. If a learner is about to receive an Activity from a Topic that they’ve never been exposed to before, they will receive a “new Topic” message at the start of their Training Session or Training Moment.

A learner can read Knowledge Cards at any time, but there is no functionality to support pushing out Knowledge Cards to learners or delivering Activities only after they have viewed a certain Card. Pre-learning by the learner is purely optional.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan the prompt for “confidence” be turned off?

Prompting for a confidence level is a very important part of our algorithm. For questions the learners have high confidence in, they’ll respond automatically — but for questions that they are a bit less confident in, we’ll be able to measure the delay in responding, and examine whether they change their answer before responding.

All of these, plus other signals that we are capture and measure, will be used to assess the learner’s mastery. (We want to understand the likelihood that the learner is guessing, or really knows the answer.)

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningHow does confidence selection affect mastery?

Our goal is to get the learner to true mastery — being accurate, being fast, and with self-assessed “high” confidence.

There is a “cost” associated with the confidence selection which rewards them by moving up a mastery level when they are confident and proficient, or dropping them down if they are confident and not proficient. (By proficiency, we are referring not just to accuracy, but also whether the learner responded within a certain duration and other signals.)

This is how a learner’s mastery level (ML) is affected by the combination of their proficiency and confidence:

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningDo learners keep their mastery scores forever?

No, based on how well a learner did while increasing their mastery level, we will apply a proportional amount of “forgetting pressure” to reduce their mastery level over time. Learners that struggled to learn will lose mastery faster than learners that exhibited mastery quickly.

This helps determine how often Otto will “call back” to a Concept and provide the learner with an Activity in order to help them retain the knowledge.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is the exact formula which governs whether a learner’s performance of an Activity is considered proficient?

We have a complex set of algorithms which are constantly evolving, based on machine learning techniques, in order to provide the most accurate representation of a learner’s proficiency, which is far more than just their accuracy.

Learn more about how OttoLearn works, as well as the science behind OttoLearn.

Admin experience

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningDoes OttoLearn require a lot of administration like a LMS?

Unlike a traditional LMS, Otto is extremely focused on the single task of increasing your learners' mastery through adaptive learning, and therefore requires very little administration.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan we use OttoLearn to deliver employee or other surveys, and summarize results?

While it may be possible to use some of Otto’s features to facilitate surveying, we’re really focused on training as our primary use case, so would defer to other products such as SurveyMonkey or TINYpulse for survey specific functionality.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningHow does OttoLearn's performance correlation work?

Our performance correlation module will allow you to import KPI metrics (either manually or automatically), correlate them to your content (at any of the content levels — Mastery Profile, Module, Topic, or Concept).

Then, you can:

  • run experiments to determine if increasing mastery correlates to a KPI change
  • automatically set mastery goals based on KPI performance
  • determine which learners have a negative correlation between their training and their performance (as reflected by the related KPIs)

What's new with Otto & microlearning?

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Structuring your training content

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningHow is content structured?

Content is organized in Modules, which can have one or more Topics, where each Topic can have zero or more Concepts. Each Concept must have at least 1 (and preferably 3+) Activities, which exercise the knowledge within the Concept.

OttoLearn content map
Content Map Legend
Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhere is content developed?

Content is developed in the OttoLearn Content Studio, which is a web based application. Multiple authors can work simultaneously, either creating or editing Concepts and Activities.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan questions, answers and feedback contain media such as video and images?

Yes, you can include any combination of text, video and images within question, answer and answer feedback.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is a Mastery Profile?

Within a Mastery Profile, you can specify which Modules should be assigned to learners, along with how deeply they should know it. It’s essentially a learning path or learning plan.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat are Modules?

A Module is a group of Topics, for instance “Introductory Selling Skills”

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat are Topics?

A Topic is a group of Concepts. If you were building a sales training Module, then a Topic could be “How to Handle Client Objections”

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is a Concept?

A Concept is a building block of knowledge. If you were building a sales training course, then a Concept could be “How to handle a price objection.”

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat are Activities?

Activities are the actual practice exercises Otto will have your learners engage in. Each Activity is a multiple choice question, however, there are a number of different formats.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is a Mastery Level?

Each Concept has multiple Activities. Each time the learner successfully completes an Activity, they will increase a mastery level. However, the system does enforce a spacing before it will increase levels.

Otto defines six different mastery levels:

Level 0:

Learner's knowledge level is unknown

Level 1:

Learners will become aware of their knowledge gaps.

Level 2:

Learners will remember being exposed to the information, but won’t be able to predictably recall it.

Level 3:

Learners will predictably recall the information, but will require some thinking time and make occasional errors.

Level 4:

Learners will exhibit accurate and rapid recall with few errors.

Level 5:

Learners will exhibit immediate recall with virtually no errors.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is a Mastery Goal?

The Mastery Goal is the desired Mastery Level for a particular Module or Concept. This provides you with great flexibility to program your learning requirements, since not all of your learners require the same knowledge on each Topic.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningHow long does it take to create content?

Otto’s studio tool facilitates rapid content creation. To actually input an Activity into Otto will only take 2 minutes.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is the process to update content within Otto to have it automatically sent to our learners?

You can update content at any time and Otto will automatically ensure your learners are exposed to your updated content, without requiring administrator intervention, new enrollments, etc.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningIs there a way to convert or use existing SCORM or other eLearning content?

No. Otto is designed as a mobile first application, which means that it is obsessed with ensuring a super fast, and super low bandwidth mobile experience. Unfortunately, SCORM/AICC modules are really designed for desktop use, and are typically a "less than ideal" experience on mobile, so we do not support them.

When you build content in the Otto studio, you are ensuring that it will be universally usable by your learner’s devices.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningIs there version control of the content?

Content version control can be accomplished by retiring and replacing Activities. Additional revision control options coming in 2018.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan content developed in OttoLearn be exported?

We can export content out in CSV, XML or JSON format. Additional formats are available as a service. Let’s talk about your specific requirements.

Hosting, privacy, security

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhere is OttoLearn hosted?

Otto is hosted with Amazon Web Services in Canada.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningIs OttoLearn available as an installed application (not hosted by Neovation)?

OttoLearn is only available as a hosted application. This allows us to continuously upgrade and maintain OttoLearn for you and our other clients.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat privacy and security standards are followed?

Since Otto is hosted with AWS, we are protected by the full range of AWS Cloud Security.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWill OttoLearn comply with EU privacy legislation?

Yes. Canada has “adequacy” status from the EU, which means that our privacy legislation is considered equivalent. Canada is updating our laws to continue this equivalency with the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation coming into force in 2018.

LMS integration

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningCan OttoLearn work with a LMS?

An Otto learning experience can be launched from a xAPI compliant LMS, such as SmarterU LMS, Moodle, Totara, Cornerstone, Saba, etc. As well, a LMS (or another application) can use the Otto API or webhooks interface in order to integrate, share data, or automate cross application functionality.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhy would I use OttoLearn if I already have a LMS?

You can choose to use OttoLearn as a stand-alone training platform, or in conjunction with a LMS.

A typical way to use Otto with a LMS is that you would load an Otto Mastery Profile as an xAPI module to the LMS. The learner would launch the Module and when they reach mastery, Otto would send back a “complete” message to the LMS along with their mastery grade and duration. The LMS at this point would consider the Module complete, but you could have Otto continue to reinforce the learner’s knowledge over time.

This is a similar to using Otto with a LMS for annual compliance training. The long form training can be delivered through the LMS (typically within a 30 day window, on an annual basis). Then, you can use Otto to reinforce knowledge for the other 11 months of the year. In combination with your current LMS, Otto becomes a powerful performance support, allowing your trainees to find the information they need in the workflow.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat are webhooks?

Webhooks are a method by which Otto can send data back to a system, such as a LMS, HRIS, ERP, etc. This means that OttoLearn can share its data with other software that you are already using to manage your team.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWhat is xAPI?

xAPI is a protocol for allowing a traditional LMS to launch an online course. Otto will be xAPI compatible, which means that a LMS can launch an Otto learning experience — from the LMS’ point of view, Otto will behave like a traditional course.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningWill we be able to track mastery to the LMS?

Otto will behave like a normal xAPI course and automatically send back progress towards Mastery. When the Mastery goal is reached, Otto will tell the LMS that the Module is “complete”.

Note: While the LMS will see that Module as complete, the learner will still be prompted for ongoing retention, but since LMS’ don’t typically understand long term retention, the LMS will simply see that Module as complete.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningDoes OttoLearn have to be used with a LMS?

No, while OttoLearn can launch from an LMS using xAPI (TinCan), it can also be used completely stand-alone.

Expand FAQ - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningIf being used with a LMS, will we need to provide users with two logins, or would there be a SSO from the LMS to Otto?

If an Otto experience is launched from the LMS, then the learner will not need to log in again, they will be automatically logged in to the Otto session.

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